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Chapter 1: Who's Ivy Bennett
Throwing myself down on the couch, I heaved a huge sigh and stretched out. Remus had mentioned something about an essay that was due tomorrow, but I quickly pushed it out of my mind. It wasn't time for work – I just wanted to relax and wait and see if anyone saw me lounging here.
Maybe one of those fifth year girls that kept staring at me. And then they would come over and I would get to spend the night snogging. So much better than essay writing.
I quickly scanned the room for one of those girls, but instead, a book on the table caught my eye. Usually, books weren't usually something that interested me but something about this one, the way it was just abandoned on the table, made me reach out and grab it.
Nothing was on the cover, so I held it out in front of me and began ruffling through the pages. It looked as though someone was handwriting something – an essay (long one), a journal, maybe something else...
Stopping at one of the pages, I leaned forward and read a couple of the words. Pining, love, more pining...what was this? A story?
I turned back to the first page and saw the words 'UNTITLED' by Ivy E. Bennett.
Who the hell is Ivy E. Bennett?
Luckily, at that moment, Lily just happened to walk by.
"Evans!" I greeted her happily, gesturing to the seat next to me. Instead of sitting down, she just stopped and stared me down. I stared back at her and said, "How's my favorite fiesty red-head doing today? Smashing, I hope?"
She sighed. "What do you want Black?"
I grinned and responded, "Who's Ivy Bennett?"
Her expression turned into one of confusion and I could only grin even more broadly. "Why do you want to know?" Ah, she was suspicious. Wonderful.
I held up the book. "I just may have found something of hers," I said, waving it around.
Lily's eyes lit up in recognition. "Oh, her journal. You know, Ivy, she's my roommate." She said it as if I was supposed to go 'aha' and know exactly who she was talking about. I just blinked at her. "The blonde." Blank stare. "Short, green eyes, long hair..." She was staring back at me like she wanted me to start nodding. Instead, I shook my head. Lily sighed in frustration and rolled her eyes at the same time. Wow, talent. "She was at Madame Puddifoot's with us." I continued my stare. "She was sitting right next to you!" Lily exclaimed loudly.
"There was someone sitting next to me?" I asked, raising my eyebrows. I didn't remember a blonde sitting next to me. There really was a blonde sitting next to me?
Lily growled at me. Yes, growled. "Listen, just leave her journal where you found it and she'll come back for it. I have to start patrols and I don't have time to deal with you right now!" And with that, she stormed off in a huff.
Just because I didn't understand. She had some issues with patience.
Sitting the book back down on the table, I took my seat down on the couch, and waited. If Lily said there was a mysterious, elusive Ivy Bennett in her dormitory, then I wanted to see this girl. She had to be joking – there wasn't an Ivy I knew of.
This was going to take forever. Letting my mind drift off into fantasies about those fifth year girls, I lounged back and watched the table in front of me.
Glancing up, I noticed a frazzled girl running up to the table. Since she had blonde hair and was reaching toward the book on the table frantically, I could only assume it was Ivy Bennett. Hmm, was this really one of Lily's roommates? I seriously had never seen this girl before.
She grabbed the book and held it to her chest. I raised an eyebrow at this. Why would someone care so much about a book? And so I had to ask.
"How's the story coming along?"
She froze, still turned away from me. At least she didn't start squealing because I was talking to her. That happened sometimes. I watched as she slowly turned around and caught her gaze (green eyes, Lily was right). She looked younger than me, but I knew she couldn't be that much younger if she was in my year.
And she just stared at me, eyes wide. I tried to match her expression but it wasn't possible. She was beginning to fidget and then said, in a small voice, "What?"
I turned on my grin. "Your story," I repeated, watching as she continued to stare at me like she didn't know what to say. She couldn't be mad – no, she was confused.
"You read it?" she finally managed to say softly. Maybe she just spoke like that – soft and quiet – all the time. I wasn't used to someone being that quiet...
I leaned forward to hear her better. "Skimmed it really. I was just wondering who it belonged to." I meant to end there, but by her expression, I knew what she was thinking. "Lily came by and told me it was your's."
She began chewing on her fingernails. Probably a nervous habit of her's. It would probably be endearing to some people, but it just made me raise an eyebrow.
"Um, oh, well, okay..." she said so quickly that I could barely hear one word from the next. I guess she wasn't the best at talking to people.
I didn't really understand how people could be like that. Why wouldn't they want to talk to other people? Getting up, I made my way over to her with a grin. She looked positively frightened. Maybe I could just leave and let her hyperventilate by herself. As I brushed past her, I decided to say goodnight.
"Well, I'll see you later," I said, and then, almost as if I remembered her name at just that moment, I added, "Ivy Bennett." Her name was foreign on my tongue, but it was interesting – the way the new name was spoken made me grin.
When I saw her again a week later, I decided to continue this amusement for a bit longer. I was probably one of the only people who ever read her story; she had to be on the edge about it. It was a perfect opportunity for a new game.
"Ivy!" I called out in the corridor, seeing her try to slip away into the crowd.
She turned to face me with wide eyes. Oh, this was bound to be very amusing. "Hi," she greeted me, confirming my conclusion that she really did speak that soft.
"Remember when I found your story?" I brought up the subject as we started walking. She just nodded. I felt a grin coming on – this was going to be too much fun. "What's it about?"
I was right – I could just tell that she was freaking out inside. Easier than I thought this would be. "Oh, it's nothing. Just a story," she tried to end the conversation there.
Right where I wanted her. "Well, who's it about?"
All of these questions were beginning to frighten her. "Uh, no one really," she responded, turning away from me.
I couldn't hold in my grin anymore. How to continue? Hmm, if I startled her. "Is it about me?" I asked.
She looked as if she was going to fall right down on the floor in front of me and start to hyperventilate.
She couldn't even speak, instead, she just spluttered and choked. It was one of the most hilarious things I had ever seen. I tried to keep a straight face but couldn't, and began to laugh. Quickly explaining that I was joking in the midst of her laughter, she finally lightened up.
Ivy Bennett was just too easy to toy with.
I had another opportunity when we were seated next to each other in Transfiguration. As we tried to duplicate a book, I began my questioning once again.
Leaning forward on the table, I got a good glimpse of her face. I wanted to see her reaction. "You never told me what you were writing about," I announced.
The subject of her novel was always touchy – an easy way to get to her. Her cheeks were burning red, and she looked down at the table. "It's a fiction work."
For some reason, I wasn't expecting that answer. She was actually writing an entire story, a novel? For fun? Who did that? "You're writing a novel?" I had to question her. She couldn't be serious – ha. Serious.
Really? A whole novel – with the long, complicated sentences and pages with words? That kind of novel? "And actual novel?" I emphasized.
"Yes," she confirmed for me, sounding a bit more sure of herself.
Maybe really was serious about this. I had never even met a girl that actually wanted to write a long novel for fun. How interesting. "What's it about then? Adventure, fantasy, romance?" I inquired.
"Uh, it's an adventure romance, I guess," she answered and I watched as her eyes lit up when she began talking about it. "And it's kind of historical. The setting is in the 16th century."
Here I was, joking to her about the novel she was writing, and she was being completely serious about it. She really was writing something important to her.
Who did that? I opened my mouth to ask but never got the chance to with Minnie glaring at me. "Get back to work"...when did I ever do work? That's like...asking the impossible.
When I got really bored, I turned to what I called "see what the mysterious Ivy Bennett doing at the moment". Normally, I just glanced around, quickly found her writing (when was she not? I didn't understand how she could write that much, hell, I couldn't understand how anyone could write that much), and then it satisfied my curiosity.
However, one Wednesday night, I found myself laying upside down on an armchair in the common room, staring at Remus sitting across from me.
He didn't look that amused.
"How can there be absolutely nothing to do?" James groaned, slumped across his own chair, staring up blankly at the ceiling.
Remus shook his head. "We have an essay due next week. You could do that."
Peter laughed. "You're hilarious, Moony."
That he was. "I think I'm going to do my rounds," I announced. Remus shook his head again in disgust. His version of rounds and mine were absolutely different. He was a prefect: he had to do rounds to make sure everyone stayed out of trouble. I did my version of rounds to find trouble.
Falling out of the chair (gracefully, I might add), I took a quick look around and stopped on a girl huddled over a book, writing something down furiously.
And that could only be one person. Slowly making my way over, I stopped behind the couch, and leaned forward slightly.
Suddenly, I really wanted to know exactly what she was writing. I wanted to know who she was writing about and how someone could write that much about some fantasy characters. What was the appeal in make-believe characters? It wasn't like they were real.
She wrote in neat cursive, making it easy to decipher each word.
"I have never received a single glance from Sebastian," I told Marianne softly, smoothing out my skirt as I stood up from the bed.
She frowned, creases appearing on her face. "Anne..."
I looked down at the floor. "It's fine," I exclaimed, raising my head and letting a smile mask my hurt expression.
I looked up from her words to see her green eyes staring into mine. "What are you doing?" she asked, taking a deep breath to try to calm her words. But her voice still shook.
"Trying to read over your shoulder," I answered truthfully, leaning even more forward.
She quickly turned the book away from my view and said something that sounded like a foreign language. With my knowledge of other languages, she probably could have just spoke one and I wouldn't have known what she was doing. "Care to repeat?" I asked instead.
She was holding that book to her chest again as if I was going to reach out and grab it from her. "What did you read?" she said slowly.
She probably expected me to answer with something quick, but I wanted to give her a story. I jumped over the back of the couch, sitting down next to her while giving her a big grin. "Some chick named Anne-" That was that person's name, right? Yes, Anne. With an 'e'...I couldn't remember who the other character was. "-was talking to some other person about a guy named Sebastian."
Sebastian – what an interesting name. Though I didn't have reason to talk – who in their right mind would name their child Sirius? Oh, right, my dear mother. Old bat of a woman.
"Um, well, there's more to it than that," Ivy answered me. Was she actually saying that she was willingly to tell me the whole story?
Me – Sirius Black, someone she didn't know and probably never even thought about? Very, very interesting...
So, I was intrigued. "Exactly. That's why you should give me a recap of what's going on." Now would she tell me everything?
She looked down at the couch and began to wring her hands. Very small hands, actually. Never seen hands that small before in my life. "Why do you care so much?" she finally whispered.
I answered quickly, shrugging, "It just seems interesting."
And then she just changed. "I don't think you'd be interested in it." What? Me not interested in something that I knew nothing about? Of course I wanted to know what she was writing about! I wanted to uncover this mystery.
"Try me," I challenged her.
She was taken aback by my tone and immediately started flipping back pages of her story, trying to tell me the entire story. It was about some village and these two people, Sebastian and Anne. I watched as she rambled on about Anne's feelings for Sebastian, wondering how someone could possibly write about fictional characters. She was so deeply involved in the story that it made me step back a little bit.
She cared for her characters. This is how she spent her free time: falling into their world. No wonder I never saw her before.
She was never really here.
"...That's all I really have so far," she concluded, looking at me as if I was going to judge her. But how could I judge her world?
Instead, I settled with, "Anne and Sebastian, huh? I like the names, they flow..." I couldn't just say that I didn't understand... "Interesting story, Ivy," I added, throwing in a grin.
I had thought it was just going to be a simple game of teasing: now, I wanted to know more about this girl and her story. It frustrated me to no end that I couldn't see where this girl was coming from.
I was Sirius Black: I always knew what was going on in a girl's mind. I always knew exactly what they were thinking (usually, it was about me) but with this Ivy Bennett, I didn't know a single thing.
I stopped her every time she was alone, prying once again for information about her story. She always seemed to get so defensive but I was just too curious to forget about her. She was always there. In the common room, writing. In the library, writing. Walking up the girls' dormitory, trying to write and walk at the same time. True multi-tasking there.
"What are you doing?" James asked in the middle of Transfiguration after the second week. It was a hurried whisper for Ivy was only sitting a few seats away.
I shrugged, leaning back in my chair. "Amusing myself," I answered, deciding on that answer. After all, I didn't want them to get the wrong idea. I didn't want them to think I was interested in Ivy Bennett. That was just absurd.
After one night of badgering her like always, she asked me why I didn't just read the story instead of making her summarize.
Urgh. She wanted me to read the thing. I didn't want to do that – that was too much work. All I wanted to do was have everything summarized in a fine, little package. So much easier for me. "I don't like to read novels," was my excuse. "They're too long." A fine, acceptable answer.
She paused, shrugging. Maybe I had offended her. "What will you do over break when you can't ask me about my story everyday?"
My first thought was to do nothing – I didn't have to go out of my way for this girl. But that was not a fun answer. Instead, I grinned and said, "You just wait." I didn't have anything planned yet...but I would.
"Padfoot, c'mon!" James said, running in. "Let's go." He didn't need to tell me twice. Quickly, I scrambling off the couch and followed James. It was the full moon and we needed to find Remus.
The transformation that night wasn't awful for once. Remus was only snapped at us a few times and there was no physical damage between the four of us. The snow had caved into the Shrieking Shack, but other than that, the night went smoothly.
Even Remus thought so for once. He was all smiles the next morning as James and I packed up to leave for winter break.
It was finally here! Winter break - a whole month away from essays and teachers. Just lounging around doing nothing. I was never able to look forward to a holiday before, but after I had ran away from home and the Potters adopted me as their second family, I finally had someone to go to. Instead of going back to my awful house, I got to spend the whole vacation with James and his family.
No more batty mother or pure-blood ideals. Just...my best mate and my adoptive parents. This was the way to spend break.
Winter break began slowly, with nothing to do but run around the house and prank James's mother when she least expected it. It was still into the first week and I was lounging out on my bed, listening to James's snoring over in the corner. I contemplated going over and jumping on the bed, waking him up. Instead, I rolled my eyes at his sleeping state and threw the closest object (a Quidditch handbook) at the lump in the bed.
He stirred and mumbled something that sounded like "Lily, my dear." I almost snorted at the tone of his voice. "Mmm...I like broom closets..." James continued, hugging his pillow closer to him.
Rolling my eyes again, I grinned and said in a breathy voice, "Oh, Jamesy-poo, you're so manly..."
James nodded in extreme agreement under his covers. "Oh, Lily..." and proceeded to snog his pillow. It provided about a minute of amusement and then I grew bored watching James stuff his pillow in his mouth.
Sighing, I looked around James's room and contemplating going and getting that Quidditch book at had thrown at James. Instead, I began opening the drawers of the bedside tables curiously, peering in them.
Just stacks of useless things like parchment and quills rolling around the bottom of the drawer.
Or maybe it wasn't useless. Maybe it was time for 'Operation Badger Ivy Bennett.'
Grabbing a quill and a piece of parchment, I quickly scrawled 'How's the story going? -S' on the top of the page and folded it unevenly. Getting out of my bed, I managed to find the Potter's family owl and told him to find Ivy Bennett.
Now, it was only a matter of time. Hopefully, she would reply soon. Teasing James could only be entertaining for so long.
I threw my pillow at James when things were beginning to get out of hand and he rolled out of his bed, landing on the bed with a loud bang. "Urgh!" he groaned, stumbling to stand up straight. Squinting his eyes at me to see more clearly (his glasses were probably lost in the middle of his snog session), he groaned again in frustration. "I was having a really good dream-"
I smirked. "Oh, I know."
James narrowed his eyes even more. "I'm going back to sleep-" he began to say until Mrs. Potter's shout of "BREAKFAST BOYS!" changed his mind.
It took a whole day for Ivy to respond. Either she was beginning to hate this game or the lousy bird had gotten lost trying to find her.
She had writer's block. What the hell was that? I thought things like that were myths – made up by professors to scare you. I replied back, deciding to humor her and call her my favorite author. It continued back and forth like that all day. Even though it was easier to get a response from her through mail instead of speaking in person, it still was difficult – at least for me, for I couldn't tease her like usual.
She still wanted to know why I was conversing with her.
Truth be told, I didn't know why. Why was I spending all of my time talking to Ivy Bennett when I could be finding someone worthwhile...hopefully to snog.
Maybe it was time to end this. I had my fun with it – it was time to walk away.
I sent back a message asking her if I could read her story – help her with it – to make her think I was still interested. I knew she wouldn't let me, so it wouldn't make any difference.
She wanted to know why. I couldn't just tell her that it was because it was the last thing I would say to make myself sound interested before forgetting about her. So, instead, I just sent her a letter simply saying 'why not?'.
She didn't write me back. Whatever.
"I need a girlfriend," I complained to James as we were walking through Kings Station. A couple girls stopped and smiled at me, clearly hearing what I had said.
James rolled his eyes. "You act as though it's a difficult thing."
I shrugged. "I don't know who's left anymore." It wasn't lying – I had lost count of who I've been with. I didn't even know if there was anyone suitable left.
James was about to answer but, instead, got distracted by Lily walking by. Normal occurrence.
When we finally got aboard the train, we began searching inside compartments. There was more than enough for everyone since it was only break, but we wanted to see if there was anyone to talk to.
Pounding on each door, we were either greeted with silence or some nasty Slytherin who we didn't want to deal with. James began knocking on one and was surprised when he actually asked, "Can we sit in here with you?" That must have meant he found somebody suitable.
Without thinking, we both charged in and threw ourselves into the seats. And then I looked up at who was sitting across from me.
Her. Again. I was supposed to be avoiding her. What if she tried to ask me to look at her story...right at the very moment...with James just sitting there next to me?
Instead of showing my disappointment, I tried to grin at her. "So, how was your break?" I asked to break the unbearable silence in the room.
She responded in quite possibly a smaller voice than usual. "It was okay." She didn't look all that great – kind of pale and tired. Maybe she was sick. "How are you?" she added suddenly.
Didn't expect that. James and I shared a glance before we answered. "It was fine."
And...awkward. Why the hell did James choose this compartment to sit in? I couldn't even have a good time with that girl sitting across from me.
Luckily, everything brightened up a bit when the compartment door opened again and Mary MacDonald stood in the doorway.
Mary...hmm. Hadn't been with her yet. And she was decent-looking...brown hair, slender build (she was on the Quidditch team, a definite plus) with big brown eyes.
I could work with that.
Ivy invited her in and Mary went to go sit next to her. Mary looked almost nervous – and I could tell right away why. Girls acted like this all the time. Of course it was because of me.
"Hi," she said.
"Hey," James and I responded at the same time.
"How was your break, Mary?" James asked her.
And when she answered, she didn't even look at James. No, because her eyes were locked with mine, and I knew this was going to be the start of a great relationship.
There was a loud thump and I looked down to see Ivy scrambling out of the compartment. She had probably gotten an idea for her story...or something.
It was nice to have someone to just grab in the middle of the corridor and snog against the wall without having to wonder if they'd like it first. No, that was the good thing about girlfriends. You had the permission to do it.
With Mary, it was great. If I flirted (with an awful pick-up line according to Remus), she would giggle and recite her own line back. If I laughed at something stupid, she would laugh too. If I leaned down to kiss her, she would kiss back with even more vigor than I imagined.
Life was great.
I even voluntarily went into the library to find her one night. She was standing by the bookshelves, reading something. All I had to do was grin at her and she immediately put the book down, letting me lean in to kiss her.
"Hey, you two, cut it out!" James's voice echoed across the room. "Get a room if you're going to do that!"
I just laughed as Mary smiled. "Go stalk Lily," I retorted before taking the book out of Mary's hands and placing it on the shelf behind her. She wouldn't need it.
James once again interrupted after only a minute, practically pushing us toward the door. He wanted dinner and wasn't going to wait any longer. Noticing Remus wasn't there, he groaned out loud and looked around.
Detaching myself from Mary, I also quickly looked around and found him...talking to Ivy Bennett.
The Ivy Bennett. The girl writing the story who lived in her own fantasy world.
And Remus was talking to her.
Well, thinking about it, I guess they were perfect for each other. Maybe it was time for little ol' Moony to get a girlfriend. But if it was her, then I'd have to deal with her again, meaning I would have to read her story and I wouldn't be able to find a way out of it.
James managed to get Remus to come by finally running over and grabbing him by the arm. Remus should have been grateful: a minute later and Ivy would probably have had him reading everything she'd ever written.
Mary and I were inseparable for the next month. I was really beginning to like this whole arrangement – even though I knew many girls were still waiting until I broke up with her. However, that wasn't on my mind: I liked Mary too much.
I didn't know if she felt the same. She always seemed distant and almost hesitant. She was probably wondering how much longer this would last. But she didn't know that there wasn't any time limit. I was content.
"What do you want for Valentine's?" I asked her one night.
She was sitting next to me in the armchair, pushed against me quite nicely. She didn't say anything for a second, and then shook her head. "Nothing."
That was it. That's all she said. How could she not want anything? Didn't girls look forward to this holiday all year? Was she trying to be coy? Because it really didn't work for her. And I was just too impatient to deal with that.
So, instead, I went out and bought roses and a bracelet for her.
"Ooh, look Moony, our little Padfoot is growing up!" James said loudly on the morning of the holiday. "He got her a pretty bracelet and pretty flowers..." Really, was this news?
I laughed. "Did you forget I do this every year?" Luckily for me, I had managed to have a date every year so far. And every year I liked to show off my current girl to the school – by buying her presents.
"You've been with Mary for a month now," Remus pointed out, raising his eyebrows. "What are you planning?"
I threw my tie over my neck. "Why are you all suspicious? You're not jealous, are you? You shouldn't be. You have your Ivy Bennett."
Remus just stared at me. "What are you talking about?"
To my surprise, Peter quickly chimed in. "You've been following her around lately."
"And talking to her every chance you get," James added with a grin. "It's about time you got a girl."
Remus started shaking his head, looking absolutely frantic. "No, I don't like her like that..."
I snorted. "You're an awful liar, Moony." He could go running off with Ivy Bennett. I didn't care what he did – as long as it didn't involve me.
"So, what did you get Ivy for Valentine's?" James asked Remus. Remus just frowned at us, and tried to pull out a book to distract himself.
I left him to the torture and bounded down the staircase, Mary was waiting for me. She smiled as I quickly grabbed her into a kiss. When I pulled away, I conquered the roses and bracelet in my hands, holding it out.
Her enthusiasm made me smile. I thought that the whole day would be perfect. I guess I didn't count on the presents from all of the rest of the female population. It was every year – how would I forget about this absolutely fantastic tradition?
I gladly accepted all of my gifts (who was I to say no?) and piled them in front of me during breakfast. When breakfast finally ended, I began unwrapping my presents, delighted to find many boxes of chocolate. Looking across the table, I watched Remus looking at my candy.
"Down, wolf-boy," I said to him, lowering my voice so no one else could hear. "No chocolate for you." I grinned as he frowned, continuing to eye the candy in front of me.
I was going to point out Remus's reaction to my chocolate to Mary, but instead, got distracted by the look on her face.
Was she angry that I didn't offer her any of my candy? Maybe she didn't like my present – no, that couldn't be it. Nobody could hate my wonderful presents. Something must have been wrong with her then.
She didn't say anything. She was in a bad mood all day – seething and frowning at me. I waited until later that night – when I thought she would have calmed down, and asked her if she wanted my chocolate.
I guess that was a wrong move.
She whirled around to face me, her eyes blazing. "No, I don't want your chocolate, Sirius! That's not the point!"
She had to be kidding. She was actually jealous because of my gifts? "It's not my fault I got gifts!" I replied. "What am I supposed to do with them?" She honestly didn't expect me to just throw away perfectly good candy just because I got it from someone else, right?
Mary started furiously shaking her head. "I don't know. Get rid of them! Not keep them and flaunt them in front of me and then ask if I want any!"
She thought I was flaunting candy? How the hell do you flaunt candy? Fine, if she thought I was flaunting candy, then whatever. I didn't want to deal with it. "Fine then!" I yelled back at her, stomping over to where Remus was sitting. "Here, Remus, you have them. Enjoy." I threw the boxes in his lap, not even caring about his reaction and left up to the dormitory.
Because I wasn't going to stand there and get yelled at. I didn't have the energy to even yell back. It wasn't worth it. She wasn't wor-
Or was she?